Do you skip your morning meal and eat dinner late at night? If so, it may increase the risk of death and other heart-related problems, researchers have warned.
The findings, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, suggest that people with such an unhealthy lifestyle had a four to five times higher likelihood of early death and increased chances of a second heart attack.
"Our research shows that the two eating behaviours are independently linked with poorer outcomes after a heart attack but having a cluster of bad habits will only make things worse," said co-author Marcos Minicucci, from Sao Paolo State University in Brazil.
"We also think that the inflammatory response, oxidative stress, and endothelial function could be involved in the association between unhealthy eating behaviours and cardiovascular outcomes," he added.
For the study, the team involved 113 patients with a mean age of 60, of which 73 per cent were men. The study enrolled patients with a particularly serious form of heart attack called ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
According to the team, this was the first study to evaluate these unhealthy behaviours in patients with acute coronary syndromes. Skipping breakfast was observed in 58 per cent patients, having late night dinner in 51 per cent, and both behaviours in 41 per cent.
To improve eating habits, researchers recommended a minimum two-hour interval between dinner and bedtime.
"A good breakfast is usually composed of dairy products (fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese), a carbohydrate (whole wheat bread, bagels, cereals), and whole fruits," the team said.